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Frameworks for Conceptualizing the US Political Right:

Countersubversion Theory

Countersubversion theory emerges from the industrial revolution and the rise of organized labor. Countersubversion theory merged as the analytical model favored by corporate elites and private security firms to enlist state agencies in an effort to repress strikes and civil unrest aimed at industrial worksites and mines. Countersubversion theory later expanded beyond its early focus on alleged labor agitation and organizing by communists and anarchists to see all dissident social movements arising not from any real social or economic conditions, but as the creation of outside agitators who comprise a cadre at the epicenter of the movement.4 These leaders use the movement as a front to hide their plans for criminal subversive activity and eventual violent armed revolution.5

A key feature of countersubversion identified by author Frank Donner was the focus on individual ringleaders, outside agitators, foreign agents, hidden conspirators, and master manipulators. "The emphasis on individuals-cherchez la personne!-plays another quite separate role in the intelligence schema. It personalizes unrest and thus detaches it from social and economic causes. Under this view the people are a contented lot, not given to making trouble until an `agitator' stirs them up. As soon as he or she is exposed or neutralized, all will be well again."6

The solution for challenging "subversive" groups is to use widespread surveillance and infiltration to penetrate to the core of the movement, expose the criminal cadre, and restore order as the larger movement collapses without the manipulators to urge them to press their grievances which were never significant to begin with.

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Overviews of the Three Conceptual Models


Overviews of the Three Conceptual Models

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